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Short Cuts: The Short Horror Review Roundup for July

Monday, July 27, 2020 | Short Films


Welcome back to a brand new installment of Short Cuts! Before we get to this month’s shorts, I want to give a shoutout to the Portland Horror Film Festival, the first all-horror film festival in the US to take its program online. They worked with the Hollywood Theatre to stream 65 short and feature films this past June to showcase independent filmmakers from 14 countries, including Iran, Russia, France, Slovenia, Poland, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and the US. Check out the festivals slate of films here!

And now on to this month’s short films, including a stark look at police brutality, a moody lakeside ghost story, an odd but sweet film about unknown creatures invading a small town, and more! As always, if you or anyone you know have a short film you’d like me to consider or if you’ve got some news you’d like to share in the short horror world, please contact me via Twitter or email me at!

Chickens (2020)
Length: 12 minutes Director: Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr. Starring: Amelia Hensley, Brian Ramian, William J. Beaumont, Chris Sackey, Jai’lyn A. Spivey, Adrien Coles, Choice Skinner
I’ll say this up front: Chickens is not an easy watch. Bryian Keith Montgomery, Jr. has crafted a short that literally stares down the barrel of police brutality through the lens of a horror film. The film festers in the helplessness of the situation, and while it does provide some form of release at the end, it’s not one that constitutes a happy ending. But I suppose that’s the point. There is no happy ending if we don’t address the issue of police brutality at a fundamental level, and Montgomery shows us a scene doomed to repeat in perpetuity until we do.
Where you can find it: Streaming on YouTube

Water Horse
Length: 8 minutes Director: Sharon Wisner & Sean Temple Starring: Charlotte Rea, Darren Bailey, Lilith Hurley, Joe Covell
This short story from directing duo Sharon Wisner and Sean Temple tells a tale about a small family living in a lakeside cabin who quickly find themselves at the center of some really creepy, seemingly supernatural shenanigans. Wisner and Temple keep their characters and the audience guessing about what’s real and what’s not, with the only reliable knowledge being that none of it can end well. It’s a moody, beautifully shot movie that will leave a nice ball of dread collecting in the pit of your stomach.
Where you can find it: Streaming on YouTube

Kissed (2020)
Length: 6 minutes Director: Elwood Quincy Walker Starring: James Warfield, Aurora Persichett
On one hand, I’ve never been too worried about what happens to my body when I die because, frankly, I won’t be using it anymore. But that doesn’t stop me from understanding people’s anxiety over their corpse being completely at someone else’s mercy. Add to that a heaping helping of dudes being creeps, and you get the fear at the bottom of Kissed, as a mortician gets way too familiar with the body of a young woman he’s supposed to be caring for. The ending, while terrifying, is also something of a happy ending where those who need it get their comeuppance.
Where you can find it: Streaming on YouTube

The Things with the Glowing Green Eyes (2019)
Length: 19 minutes Director: Jeremy Herbert Starring: Daniel Alan Kelly, Morgan McCleod, Jenson Strock
Director Jeremy Herbert’s The Thing About Beecher’s Gate was my favorite short film from last year as it was filled with isolation and dread. With The Things with the Glowing Green Eyes, he’s taking things in a sweet, quirky direction while still keeping a healthy dose of spooky. The movie focuses on a handful of citizens in a small town giving their accounts of being followed by strange creatures with the titular glowing, green eyes. But this story seems as much to do with the people themselves as it does about their paranormal stalkers as I found myself just as interested in the connections between people in the town.
Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds. Check out the trailer here.

Uplift (2020)
Length: 11 minutes Director: A.K. Prasad & Rebecca Kahn Starring: James Acton, Soli Joy, Freya Joy
A.K. Prasad and Rebecca Kahn’s short film about a man dealing with the death of his child plays out like a joke told by that friend everyone has with the incredibly dark sense of humor. I’d like to issue a content warning on this, but I can’t specify how without spoiling the ending. So I’ll just say proceed with caution, but if you’re like me then you’ll also admire how well-crafted the film is, even if it is extremely messed up.
Where you can find it: Streaming on Omeleto

Bryan Christopher